WNBA Championship Preview 2017

By S. Samek

Seems like it was just yesterday that we were previewing the WNBA semi-finals.

The matchups offered a bit of intrigue, as a couple of unlikely contenders went head to head with the top two teams in the league.

Both series ended in three game sweeps. So, to battle it out we have the reigning champion LA Sparks and the top -seed Minnesota Lynx. This is a rematch of last season’s championship series.

Last season I picked the Lynx to win. I was wrong as the Sparks took home the title.

LA Sparks

LA is a strong contender and deserves their chance to defend the title. They finished with the second-best record at 26-8, just a game behind Minnesota. They won their last seven games in a row and went 16-1 at home, best home record in the WNBA. A 10-7 away mark was pretty decent as well.

The duo averaged about 36 points per game during the regular season. Parker averaged 20 points a game during the one playoff series the Sparks played in and combined it with 8.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. Ogwumike averaged 10 rebounds during the playoff matchup with Phoenix.

While LA is without Kristi Toliver a major contributor to last season’s run. They do have Chelsea Gray. Gray is averaging 6.7 assists per game, tops for the playoffs along with Parker.

Odyssey Sims came up big with 22 points in the game three win over Phoenix. She adds another scoring option for LA.

Minnesota Lynx

Yet Minnesota has dominated this season. Number one seed at 27-7. They put up the runner up home mark at 15-2 and 12-5 on the road. The concluded the season on a three-game winning streak. Heck they went on a 37-0 run against Indiana in a 59-point blowout win, both WNBA records this season. How’s that for dominating.

They have Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus, both average 19 points per game in the playoffs.

That’s not to forget they also have Sylvia Fowles and Lindsay Whalen. Fowles is the 2017 WNBA MVP, this for a season averaging 18.9 points per game 10.4 rebounds, both in the top five league wide. She also tied for the league-led in double doubles with 20.

This high level of play is being kept in the playoffs, where Fowles is average 20 points per game and 10 boards per game.

Whalen is among the playoff leaders in assists with just under five per game with Moore and Augustus behind per at just under four and a half per game.

The Lynx have a lot of talent to contend with. They seem to be the favorite again this year as well.

During the season series LA took two of the three match ups. This including the most recent matchup on August 27,2017 in LA. LA won last year despite being the underdog and is more than capable of during it again.

Either way this should be a treat of a series. I think it goes down to the fifth game once again. This time with the home team winning. I take the Lynx 3-2, just like last season.

 

 

 

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Steelers Record Prediction

By S. Samek

ESPN has the Pittsburgh Steelers predicted at a 12-4 record for this season.

They have them beating everyone, except Detroit, Baltimore Cincinnati and Kansas City. Yet they have been picked to beat New England and Green Bay.
I disagree with this record.
I can’t see them losing to both Detroit and Kansas City. Detroit is projected to win eight games. They may have Matthew Stafford, but is he enough to beat Ben Roethlisberger head to head. I don’t think so.
Kansas has a 10-win projection. This one could be a close game, but I see Pittsburgh winning it. Even on the road Pittsburgh can win. They did it last year in the playoffs and can do it in a less pressure filled game during the regular season.
I wouldn’t pick Pittsburgh over New England. The Patriots almost always have their number n matter where they play.
Green Bay is another team that won’t die with ease. I could see them coming into Pittsburgh and beating us like they did in the super bowl. Don’t circle it as an automatic loss, but don’t be surprised if it happens.
Splitting with Baltimore and Cincinnati are common occurrences. I think both would be very likely to happen.
Note the picks were related to quarterback over and under in a tier average. Big Ben had one of the best marks behind only Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in this stat. Yet, both of these teams are predicted as wins for Pittsburgh. Makes no sense to me.

Quarterback play alone isn’t always the key to victory. So, this is mostly just a for fun pick. I do agree with the 12-4 mark maybe even 13-3, or 11-5, but no worse than that. I just don’t think it will be in the manor picked in the article.